McLaren driver Lando Norris has admitted that he was hoping Valtteri Bottas was going to retire from the 2021 season-opener after the Finn had a slow pitstop which ruled him out of the fight for the top two steps of the podium.
The pitstop cost the Finn around 10 seconds, but he nevertheless still managed to finish the grand prix in third and even opted for an extra pitstop ahead of the final lap so he could score an additional point by setting the fastest lap.
Speaking after the race in Bahrain, Norris said he briefly thought he had a chance of scoring his second-ever podium in Formula One.
“Valtteri had a problem with his pitstop. And I was hoping he would obviously be out of the race,” Norris said.
“Of course I don’t want anyone to experience this. But I remembered last year’s Austrian Grand Prix and for a moment thought that this issue might give me a chance [to get another podium].
“It didn’t happen, but I’m pretty happy with finishing fourth,” he added.
Norris, who entered his third season in Formula One with McLaren last weekend, scored his first podium in the pinnacle of motorsport at the 2020 season-opener in Austria after Alex Albon retired from the grand prix and Sir Lewis Hamilton received a five-second time penalty for wrecking the Thai driver’s race.